‘Marat/Sade’ opens at Center for the Arts | TheUnion.com

‘Marat/Sade’ opens at Center for the Arts

The last time this community was treated to this play about the French Revolution was in 1995 at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, drawing more than 1,000 people for five performances. “Because that was such an incredible event,” says Paul Emery, musical director for the play, “we decided to do it again,” this time at the Center for the Arts.

Boiled down to its essence, this is a play within a play wherein the Marquis de Sade, committed to an asylum by a family that is embarrassed by him, writes a play dramatizing the final hours of a French revolutionary and has the asylum inmates act in it. The play is titled “Marat/Sade: The Persecution And Assassination Of Jean-Paul Marat As Performed By The Inmates Of Charenton Under The Direction Of The Marquis De Sade ” by Peter Weiss.

The inmates are also the musicians and the choir, who comment on the situation, something akin to Greek Theater.

More than 30 actors perform.

“It’s a drama, a serious theater piece, with music being a major part of it,” says Emery, “a provocative play that’s hard-hitting, with timeless themes on the human condition. Very intellectually stimulating.”

In its day it was fashionable for so-called normal people from the outside to come to Charenton to watch the plays, generally light farces with song and dance. Professionals from Paris often augmented the casts. Sound bizarre?

According to Director John Deaderick, the Marquis’ intentions in Weiss’ play seem to be to “hold a mirror up to nature” and force his well-to-do audience to confront hard truths about the lies France had lived since Marat’s death 15 years before.

Emery stressed that this play is for mature audiences only. After all, the Marquis de Sade was France’s most widely read author at a time when pornography was quite popular.


WHAT: Marat/Sade: The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade”

WHEN: Fri.-Saturday, Feb. 11, 12; Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 17, 18, 19

WHERE: The Center for the Arts, 314 West Main St., Grass Valley

ADMISSION: $15. Tickets can be purchased at Yabobo in Nevada City, BriarPatch and The Bookseller in Grass Valley, and Cherry Records in Auburn.

INFORMATION: The Center for the Arts, 274-8384

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